June 25th, 2009

This is what the box looked like. But who needs boxes?FlatOut 2 is an arcade-style racing game developed by Finnish studio Bugbear Entertainment and published by Empire Interactive. It was released in the US in August of 2006 for PC, Xbox, Playstation 2, and again in October of 2008 for Mac OS X.

FlatOut 2 is a racing game that offers something for everybody. Single race, stunt or derby modes will best suit the dabbler. Just pick a mode, a track, a vehicle, and get to racing, death-defying, and destroying your way to victory. There is nothing to unlock, to buy, to sell or to upgrade. Some prefer to earn their keep, though, so for the arcade-racing purist there is a full career mode complete with the aforementioned unlocking and shopping as well as classes, cups, tournaments and special events. FlatOut 2’s modes can also be taken to multiplayer games via party-play (local), Internet (where a healthy group of people can still be found playing), or LAN. No matter your poison, FlatOut 2 is always all about the mayhem with its destructible environments, brutal crashes, tons of debris, and AI-controlled drivers that are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

I’m not a racing enthusiast by any stretch, but I can get down. I enjoy Forza, PGR, a bit of DIRT and a whole lot of Trackmania. I’ve even embarrassed myself by trying to play SimBin’s games. So when I saw the FlatOut games begin to drop in price on Steam, I decided it was time I gave the games a look.

I should preface by saying that I played using keyboard controls, though my Xbox 360 gamepad worked just fine when I tried it.

I began at the beginning with the original FlatOut. While fun, it definitely felt like a game from 2004 (mostly with regard to its physics), but I recognized that there was something to it. Not satisfied, I tried Ultimate Carnage, the most recent installment in the FlatOut series which was reportedly the victim on a shoddy port. This game was also fun, and the physics had come a long way in three years. While I didn’t experience prohibitive performance issues myself, I didn’t let that stop me from trying FlatOut 2. This is the “Baby Bear” of the bunch; FlatOut 2 is just right. It doesn’t have as much of the shine that Ultimate Carnage does, but it still looks great, the physics feel good, and the performance is markedly better. On top of that, it’s half the price. FlatOut 2 is the one to get, folks.

FlatOut 2 is available on Steam for $9.99.

Third-person view helps in Derby mode One of the many ridiculous Stunt events in FlatOut 2 Spoiler: this turn ended badly for all parties involved.

I was doing it wrong. Leather jacket not included. Some people still can't let it go.

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